I just finished watching Scorsese’s film about George Harrison. It left me even more in awe than I had been.
Open Secrets reports that Biden is near to raising $1 Billion in the most expensive election in history.
The 2020 election is more than twice as expensive as the runner up, the 2016 election. In fact, this year’s election will see more spending than the previous two presidential election cycles combined. The massive numbers are headlined by unprecedented spending in the presidential contest, which is expected to see $6.6 billion in total spending alone. That’s up from around $2.4 billion in the 2016 race. Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden will be the first candidate in history to raise $1 billion from donors. His campaign brought in a record-breaking $938 million through Oct. 14, riding Democrats’ enthusiasm to defeat Trump. President Donald Trump raised $596 million, which would be a strong fundraising effort if not for Biden’s immense haul.
Truth bomb from Leonard C. Goodman at The Chicago Reader. TLDR: Barrett is exactly the kind of judge corporate donors love.
The Democrats claimed to be united in their opposition to Barrett’s confirmation. Yet their resistance to having a justice rammed through at the 11th hour of a lame duck presidency feels like the resistance that the Washington Generals used to show against the Harlem Globetrotters. That is, pure theater in which the outcome is never in doubt. What this tells us is that the corporate donors who control the Democratic Party are happy with a Justice Barrett.
Today over on the Shyamatara Das site, I share some thoughts on the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of meditation.
As we achieve deeper and more profound levels of consciousness during meditation, it has been speculated that we can experience this field, and interact with it – perhaps even influence it – more directly than we do when mitigated by our bodily senses. Since the field is the foundational essence of all time and space, it is boundless. While experiencing these deeper levels of consciousness, we, too, become unbounded.
Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda is one of the great modern classics of spiritual literature. Since its first publication in 1946, it has been cited again and again as “the” book which first set one seeker after another on their path of discovery.
Yogananda was one of the very first Indian mystics to bring the ancient teachings of yoga to the Western World. He arrived in the United States in 1920, and lectured here widely until his Mahāsamādhi in 1952.
I happened recently across a documentary on the saint’s life called AWAKE: The Life of Yogananda and became fascinated. The book, thus far, gives a great bit more detail on Yogananda’s life from childhood through his departure for America. I’m looking forward to reading the rest.
I always seem to have several books going at once, and currently, along with this one, I’ve been reading Ram Dass’ Be Here Now and Krishna Das’ Chants of a Lifetime. It’s interesting to contrast the spiritual journeys of these two Americans who both mention Yogananda as an early influence, with that of this important Indian master himself.
Tyrell Haberkorn sums up the situation this week in Thailand, where what began as a student movement questioning the role of the monarchy has become a broader struggle for democracy.
In arresting them and others last week, the Thai authorities seemed to hope to end the movement calling for an end to dictatorship and reform of the monarchy by locking its leaders away behind bars. But as the mushrooming protests this past weekend and early this week illustrate, the tactic has failed.
One who is dear to our hearts lives in Bangkok. We pray for her safety during this time of turbulance.
Here is the current situation. We have an administration in power that is unprecedented, at least in my lifetime, in its ineptitude, corruption, destructiveness, callousness and hypocrisy. It has proved itself unwilling to conduct its affairs according to the most base standards of decency. It has, by every conceivable measure, made things worse for all of us. Not only has it made things measurably worse, it has created a political climate which will make it inestimably more difficult to begin making them even slightly better, regardless of the outcome of the 2020 elections. It continues to pose serious dangers to the lives, health and well-being of everyone in our society, and across the globe, and especially the most oppressed and vulnerable among us. It is shocking and unconscionable that such an abomination could rise to power in “the greatest democracy” on the Earth.
On the other side of the political aisle, we have a party which is so desperate to stave off any fundamental change that they have nominated a doddering, glib, gaffe-ridden career politician, notorious as a puppet of the insurance industry, with a sordid history which includes multiple, credible complaints of sexual assault.
It appears, two weeks out from the Presidential Election of 2020, that the Biden/Harris ticket may prevail, although many of us have the uncomfortable sense that we may have seen this movie before.
The frantic exhortations about this being “the most important election in history” might have some validity, except for the fact that the Democrats offer nothing as an alternative to Trump other than a return to everything that got us into this mess to begin with. For many decades now, up until this very moment, they have paid lip service to everyday working people, while attending to the whims of their corporate lords and masters. They have ignored each and every one of the most urgent problems that we face, from murderous cops to the public health crisis to looming economic disaster to a climate emergency that poses the prospects of near-term extinction for our species (along with much of the rest of life on this planet).
So, it is fine, I suppose, for people to encourage us to vote for this garbage as a temporary respite from outright fascism. But it is dishonest, and sickening, for them to ask us to place any other hope in a Biden Presidency, or in the party that he leads.
I have spent most of my life as a political activist. I volunteered on my first campaign as a teenager, when a friend of our family ran for State’s Attorney in the county where I grew up. I was a “Yellow Dog Democrat” for more than 30 years, always voting a straight punch in the general election. I’ve marched, and I’ve donated, and I’ve phone banked, and I’ve walked precincts and I’ve organized. I’ve drank the Kool Aid, and I’ve served it up. I’ve been a jubilant winner on election night, and a dejected loser.
We have come to the point where there’s not enough Kool Aid on the planet to make any of this palatable, and there can be no jubilee in sight.
So, where might we find any glimmer of hope in all of this madness?
For me, any path forward falls outside of the realm of electoral politics. Although I cannot find it in my heart to discourage a vote for Biden from my friends who live in states which will be legitimately contested, I absolutely refuse to place any faith in him or his party to lead us into the light, either in the weeks to come, or in the imaginable future.
We have to find the way ourselves, and we have to start by looking in the right direction. That direction is not right, nor left, nor forward, nor upward nor onward.
It is inward.
This is a rather long read, and not a lot of fun, but I think that Hedges (as usual) describes the moment well.
The most difficult existential dilemma we face is to at once acknowledge the bleakness before us and act, to refuse to succumb to cynicism and despair. And we will only do this through faith, the faith that the good draws to it the good, that all acts that nurture and protect life have an intrinsic power, even if the empirical evidence shows that things are getting worse.
Rewild to mitigate the climate crisis, urge leading scientists. The Guardian reports that restoring natural landscapes damaged by human exploitation can be one of the most effective and cheapest ways to combat the climate crisis while also boosting dwindling wildlife populations, according to a scientific study published recently.
If a third of the planet’s most degraded areas were restored, and protection was thrown around areas still in good condition, that would store carbon equating to half of all human caused greenhouse gas emissions since the industrial revolution.
The changes would prevent about 70% of predicted species extinctions, according to the research, which is published in the journal Nature.
Source: Environment | The Guardian
As you may have seen in earlier posts here, I began a daily meditation practice in the Spring of 2019, and it has changed my life dramatically. In July of 2020, I had a sudden realization that the good things coming into my life were the fruit of seeds that had been planted decades ago, and that my life belonged to a particular spiritual lineage. This lineage has found expression in my life and practices most often over the years in the form of Marian Devotion.
I have also had an attraction, for decades now, toward the Tibetan Buddhist lineage of His Holiness The Dalai Lama. I have borne a tattoo of the mantra “Om Mani Padme Hum” on my arm for many years. I knew the literal translation (“I Bow to the Jewel in the Lotus Blossom”), but had very little understanding of its deeper meaning or significance.
In July, I came to learn about the Compassionate Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, to whom the Om Mani mantra belongs. I learned the story about him shedding a single tear, which became a pond, from which bloomed a lotus, from which emerged the Green Tara – Mother of all Buddhas, Guiding Star, Guardian of Souls, Compassionate Liberator. Behold, the Jewel in the Lotus!
One of Mary’s titles is “Stella Maris” or “Star of the Sea.” Compassionate Mother, Guiding Star. Does any of this sound familiar?
I took the name Shyamatara Das, as a way to honor this lineage, in all of its expressions, Buddhist, Hindu, Christian and beyond.
As I began to write about my experiences with spiritual practice, I realized that it might be helpful to gather some of the essays and resources into a website entirely devoted to such topics. In September, I created the first post at ShyamataraDas.com, noting that the site is a vehicle for sharing “thoughts, spiritual practices, techniques and resources for living a full, beautiful life.” It will include material on a wide range of topics: service, bhakti, meditation, plant-based cooking and more.
I hope that you will find something of interest there.